Florida Keys

BENBILL / FLICKR

Living in the Florida Keys is life in paradise, but it comes at a cost. 

Day-to-day life in the Keys can be a struggle despite the natural beauty of the archipelago. Still, the affordability challenges, threats from hurricanes and risk of higher seas can't dilute the Conch spirit of independence, personal resiliency and individualism. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe County already had one of the highest suicide rates in the state of Florida.

Then came Hurricane Irma. And although most of the debris has been removed from land - and lots of repairs are underway — the storm continues to impact the Keys, almost a year later.

The captain of a charter boat carrying government scientists on an environmental research cruise near the Keys has been cited for violating environmental regulations.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon releases 50 to 60 sea turtles back to the ocean every year. On Friday two unusually large turtles returned to the sea — with new souvenirs from their time on land.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Getting rid of Hurricane Irma debris from the Florida Keys took months and cost tens of millions of dollars. And now the saga has entered the political realm.

Shortly after his mother died in 1987, Brian Gordon Sinclair stumbled upon a copy of “A Farewell To Arms,” Ernest Hemingway's famous novel set during World War I. Sinclair fell in love with the writing and knew he wanted to learn more about the author.

Peter Maczek

First Irma, now a trade war.

Less than a year after Hurricane Irma tore through the Florida Keys, lobster fishermen are facing another hit from the trade war with China.

Tariffs set to take effect Friday threaten to bump up prices by 25 percent — an increase that could cool demand in the lucrative Chinese market, say experts.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

Sean Callahan didn't think twice about driving to Key Largo to get fireworks. He had to. The warehouse there carries hundreds of multi-shot fireworks — some that can't be found in Miami-Dade County.

After weaving in and out of rows of sparklers, Roman candles and artillary shells, a smiling Callahan rolled his $800 cartload of rockets and mortar shells into his car.

“I’m really just a big kid – they’re all for me,” he said proudly.  

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

Is there anything more Floridian than a flamingo?

They’re everywhere. Pink plastic ornaments dotting lawns. On cocktail swizzlers and motel signs.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN News

Key West is known for sunsets, nightlife and cats with six toes. Now, some of its residents say it should be known for its trees. Especially royal poincianas.

When the royal poinciana trees are in bloom - like they are now - just about everybody notices and admires the bright orange-red blooms.

But some of Key West's residents - like Karen Ludwig O'Leary - say the island is losing too many of the trees. Ludwig O'Leary and others have been protesting the removal of the trees and their replacement with different species.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

Development in the Florida Keys has been limited for decades by hurricane evacuation; the state requires that everyone who lives there be able to get out within 24 hours. But that may change under a new program approved Wednesday by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

People in the Florida Keys are still picking up property that got blown around by Hurricane Irma - and the Monroe County sheriff’s office is looking to return one special item that just turned up.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN News

The Avenues neighborhood on Big Pine Key was one of the cheapest places to buy or rent in the Keys for a reason: it has a lot of older ground-level or mobile homes.

When Hurricane Irma crossed the Lower Keys as a Category 4 last September, the Avenues was clobbered.


Al Diaz / Miami Herald

The state is preparing a 1,300-unit rescue to the affordable housing crisis that has gripped the Florida Keys but, to make it happen, it has had to bend some rules that planners say may only make the problem worse.

The governor and Cabinet are expected to hear a report Wednesday on a plan by the governor's Department of Economic Opportunity to allow the development of multi-family housing units for working people throughout the Keys.

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